Every year, a quarantine of all sport-harvested mussel species is imposed along the California coast to protect people against paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid poisoning. This year, the quarantine begins May 1, and is expected to last through October 31, according to the California Department of Public Health.
It is important that the public does not collect mussels during this high-risk period for marine toxins because the toxins found in mussels are not reliably destroyed by cooking and have no known antidotes.
Paralytic shellfish poison and Domoic acid are biotoxins produced by some species of microscopic algae. Shellfish such as mussels eat this algae and can retain the toxin, sometimes at dangerous levels. When humans eat the contaminated shellfish, it leads to severe illness, including coma and death.
Commercially harvested shellfish are excluded from the annual quarantine.
by RTT Staff Writer
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